Artist David Lee Csicsko has a flair for bold graphics with a touch of whimsy. That’s evident to anyone who’s seen the Belmont L station in Lake View, where his brightly colored mosaics of cartoonish faces welcome riders. “I try to create smart, fun imagery that makes you smile,” Csicsko says.

Among his projects for 2022 are two books: LGBTQ+ Icons, out in June, and Science People, due this fall. Packed with his lively portraits of both famous and overlooked figures, they celebrate diversity, smarts, and creativity.

Those are the same qualities the Lake View East resident seeks when shopping for inspiration. We asked him to share products he loves from his favorite stores.

Ikram exterior
Photography: (Ikram, tote, pin) Ikram


15 E. Huron St., Near North Side

“Ikram is an amazing cornucopia of cutting-edge fashion. Walking into the dark red lacquer building is like a direct flight to Paris and a front-row seat to the fashion shows.”

Muveil tote bag and Lisa C. rhinestone pin


1. Muveil tote bag “This handbag has such a sense of imagination. I love the way the seagulls were drawn.” $515

2. Lisa C. rhinestone pin “I’m a guy who’s not afraid to sport a really cool lobster brooch on my lapel.” $350


Little Barn Apothecary
Photography: (Little Barn Apothecary, matchbook, mist) Little Barn Apothecary

Little Barn Apothecary

3341 N. Broadway, Lake View East

“This little shop makes its own self-care products. It smells great. If it’s possible for calm and hip to come together, that happens when you walk in the door.”

Nue matches and Aloe + Rosewater Balance Mist


1. Nue matches “These are just cool. They’ve got really great covers with art deco female nudes. It’s a striking image. Get it?” $8

2. Aloe + Rosewater Balance Mist “This lovely product calms your skin — just a little something to keep your face fresh and hydrated.” $32


Unabridged Bookstore

3251 N. Broadway, Lake View East

“My favorite bookstore in the whole city. It has a nice, cozy art book section full of great surprises. Everyone who works there is a reader, so smart and so friendly. They get excited to help you get excited about a book.”

‘Ballets Russes’ by Hiroshi Unno and Reiko Harajo
Photograph: Pie International


Ballets Russes by Hiroshi Unno and Reiko Harajo “I’m crazy about Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and all the amazing people involved — such a flowering of all the arts coming together.” $50